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Serious questions over NZ's energy security

Hon Dr Nick Smith

National Party Energy Spokesman

11 May 2006

Serious questions over NZ's energy security

"It is an indictment of this Government's energy policies that New Zealand's oil stocks this year fell to the lowest level of any country in a decade", says National's Energy spokesman, Nick Smith.

He is commenting after the release today of the International Energy Agency's report on New Zealand.

The report says: 'New Zealand has not been in compliance with its IEA stockholding requirement for several years. Its stocks fell to 61 days of net imports as of 1 January 2006, well below the 90-day obligation. This is the lowest reported level of stocks by an IEA member country in over a decade.'

"It is grossly irresponsible for the Government to have let this situation become so tenuous when oil prices are so volatile, and when there is heightened instability in the Middle East," Dr Smith says.

"The economic consequences for an isolated country like New Zealand of running out of oil would be crippling.

"Just as with roading and electricity, the Government is failing to ensure we have the infrastructure to support a growing economy.

"The worry is that not only is New Zealand failing to meet its obligations, but this report identifies we are behind schedule in trying to rectify the problem.

"The Government must act immediately, as recommended by the IEA, to ensure the 90-day stockholding obligation is met," Dr Smith says.

ENDS

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